figuring out the Antenna Tracker

3691139590?profile=originalNot many people know but we have an piece of open source software for controlling an Antenna Tracker.  It's been built by Tridge (Arduplane lead developer) for use in the outback challenge.

Sadly we have no documentation and, as far as I know, nobody except Tridge has used it.  Still given Tridge's track record on building great software I suspect it works well and if it doesn't, I'm sure we can fix it.  So to not let this piece of code go to waste, I'd like some help from people who are interested to give it a try and help me figure out how it works.

Here's the little that I know:

  • It runs on any of our supported board (APM1, APM2, PX4, Pixhawk, Flymaple and perhaps VRBrain)
  • For APM1/APM2 users building the code is as easy as opening our hacked ArduinoIDE and selecting File > SketchBook > Tools > AntennaTracker and then building in the normal way.  For PX4/Pixhawk, our autobuilder doesn't automatically build a binary but I can provide one if people are interested.
  • It can control a Pan and Tilt gimbal like this or this found on
  • It may or may not require a GPS
  • It must somehow receive vehicle position updates from the ground station which has the telemetry radio that is connected to the vehicle. Maybe through a USB cable.  Tridge probably uses the python ground station, MAVProxy, to passthrough the vehicle position data to the AT but perhaps we can get MichaelO to build out a similar feature in Mission Planner.
  • I imagine this antenna tracker could also be used to keep a camera focused on the vehicle which might be good for easing the burden on creating videos of our vehicles.

So if you want to give it a try please do and stick any findings, questions or issues below. Alternatively Issues can go into the issues list.

I'll start sticking things into the wiki as they become clear.

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones

Email me when people reply –


  • I abandoned the antenna tracker in favor of the Mission Planner tracker which works very well. It's simple and needs no GPS or compass.  My setup includes a 5.8ghz dish antenna, and a modified version of Mission Planner that tunes the tracker to peak the signal using RSSI.  If anybody is interested in this setup as an alternative, I can post a blog.

  • Awesome!  Thank you.

    Greg Covey said:

    Here you are...

  • Here you are...

  • You guys are all very welcome!  I am still trying to get my tracker running reliably since I upgraded.  I decided to upgrade my GPS to the M8N because of large variances on both gps and compass readings.  I may also have to relocate it further from the 5.8ghz video repeater antenna.  I will echo Fred's comment above.  If anyone has a reliable tracker setup for either v0.8.0 or v1.0 please share your config settings, pids, etc.....

  • Thanks, Jeff!

    Jeff said:

    I just compiled v0.8.0 for the pixhawk if anyone needs it, since it is no longer available.

  • can some post there pram file for 1.0 to look at i must be missing something 

  • Fantastic, that is really a great help. Thanks a million. (To Jeff, uploading version 0.8)

  • Does anyone know if a new version is in the works?

    I really like the format of this forum better. I hope the discussion does not totally dry up.


  • thanks i do i cant get 1.0 to work on my pixhawk works fin on 0.8
    Jeff said:

    I just compiled v0.8.0 for the pixhawk if anyone needs it, since it is no longer available.

  • For sure.  Just have to create an account.

This reply was deleted.


Shivchand Jaysaval liked Shivchand Jaysaval's profile
Aug 25